CARB-X portfolio now has 21 early development projects aimed at treating life-threatening bacterial infections and battling the growing global threat of drug-resistance
(BOSTON: October 31, 2017) – CARB-X announced today that it has awarded Inhibrx $4.55M and potentially up to $6M to accelerate the development of a new antibody designed to prevent and treat infections caused by Pseudomonas, a difficult-to-treat family of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens often found in hospital and health-care settings. Inhibrx will receive an initial amount of up to $4.55M, with the possibility of $1.49M more from CARB-X based on the achievement of certain milestones. The CARB-X award will support Inhibrx’s lead program, INBRX-111, currently in the pre-clinical phase of development.
“The Inhibrx project enriches the diversity of the CARB-X pipeline with an approach that has the potential to prevent or treat drug-resistant infections, like Pseudomonas, and save lives,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, the world’s leading non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating the development of antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other products to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. “The projects in the Powered by CARB-X portfolio are in the early stages of research, and there is always a high risk of failure. But if successful, these projects, including Inhibrx’s antibody project, hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
“The need for new therapeutics to solve the antibiotic resistance epidemic is urgent as well as the need for novel funding mechanisms to support research, development and commercialization,” said Mark Lappe, CEO of Inhibrx, a La Jolla, CA.-based company. “Inhibrx is committed to addressing the global health threat of antibiotic resistance with multiple efforts addressing priority list pathogens. With this non-dilutive award from CARB-X, we look forward to rapidly advancing INBRX-111 through Phase 1 with the goal of providing a novel option for patients with or at high risk for drug-resistant Pseudomonas infections.”
Pseudomonas infection is caused by bacteria found widely in the environment; the most common type causing infections in humans is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These infections often occur in people with weakened immune systems. and are becoming increasingly difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance. These infections of the blood, pneumonia, urinary tract and infections following surgery can lead to severe illness and death.
The broad range of drug-resistant infections, including multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas, currently cause an estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide annually, according to the World Health Organization. In the US alone, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 23,000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacterial infections.
The Powered by CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest portfolio of early development products to treat the most serious drug-resistant bacterial infections. CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, was launched in July 2016. It currently funds projects in 6 countries and is working to expand its pipeline with outstanding science from around the world.
CARB-X is a partnership between the UK charity Wellcome Trust and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X is actively seeking support from other governments, industry and civil society to expand its ability to fund promising projects and deliver new life-saving treatments so urgently needed.
The funding is part of an overall commitment of up to US$455M by the US government and Wellcome Trust over a five-year period from 2016-2021. So far this year, including the Inhibrx project, CARB-X has announced $51.93M to fund 21 projects plus an additional $63.85M if project milestones are met. These funds are in addition to the companies’ own investments in their projects. Responsible use of existing antibiotics and equitable access, particularly in low-income countries where need is greatest, is also vital to address the global health problem. Both are a condition of CARB-X funding.
BARDA’s Director Rick Bright, PH.D., said: “The support announced today aims to speed development of a potential new antibacterial product to treat patients with life-threatening infections and enhance national security and global health preparedness. At BARDA, we are committed to revitalizing the antibacterial pipeline through a combination of incentives. Today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to promote and accelerate medical countermeasure innovation through novel public-private partnerships like CARB-X.”
Tim Jinks, Head of Drug-Resistant Infections at Wellcome Trust, said: “Wellcome is committed to addressing this urgent global health threat. With drug-resistant infections spreading rapidly it’s vital we speed discovery of new and innovative treatments. The addition of this exciting project to the CARB-X portfolio is another important step in achieving this. Drug discovery must also go hand-in-hand with concerted action to ensure responsible use of antibiotics and availability of existing and new treatments for patients in all countries.”
CARB-X’s role is to identify and fund promising early research in antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics, devices and alternative approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat the most serious drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections. Projects funded by CARB-X receive non-dilutive funding as well as drug development and business support services. It is in the early phases of research that most projects are abandoned often because of lack of funding. The goal is to progress these Powered by CARB-X projects to a stage where they may attract additional private or public support for clinical development.
The last new class of antibiotics approved for treatment against Gram-negative bacteria was discovered in 1962. Antibiotic discovery is challenging because bacteria are able to genetically modify and become resistant to medicines. As well, large pharmaceutical companies have significantly scaled back investment in antibiotic research in the past decades because it has not been sufficiently profitable.
CARB-X expects to make further funding announcements later this year.
This news release is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by an award from Wellcome Trust, as administrated by CARB-X. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CARB-X, the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, the National Institutes of Health or Wellcome Trust.
CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to early stage antibacterial R&D. Funded by BARDA and Wellcome Trust, with in-kind support from NIAID, CARB-X will spend up to $455 million from 2016-2021 to support innovative antibiotics, vaccines and rapid diagnostics from ‘hit-to-lead’ stage through to Phase 1 clinical trials. CARB-X focuses on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is led by Boston University. Other partners include the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, MassBio, the California Life Sciences Institute and RTI International. For more information, please visit www.carb-x.org and follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.
Inhibrx is a privately-held, clinical stage biologic therapeutic company focused on the treatment of oncology, infectious disease and inflammatory conditions. Inhibrx’s proprietary platforms and technologies enable fit-for-function biotherapeutics that optimally interface with the biology of each target antigen, focus immune activation and mediate enhanced signaling. Therapeutic proteins include multispecific and multivalent molecules designed using our composite modular single domain antibody technology. Inhibrx’s lead program in the infectious disease space is INBRX-111, a multi-specific and multi-epitopic anti-virulence/opsonizing antibody targeting Pseudomonas. INBRX-111, through its novel multi-targeted activity, has shown broad strain specificity and potent in vivo efficacy against Pseudomonas.
About Wellcome Trust
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 210183. Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, no. 2711000 (whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK)
About HHS, ASPR and NIH
HHS is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
ASPR leads HHS’s efforts to prepare the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security. Within ASPR, BARDA provides a comprehensive integrated portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, innovation, acquisition, and manufacturing of vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health emergency threats. These threats include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat agents, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.
NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website: https://www.niaid.nih.gov.
About Boston University
A leading research university with over 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 130 countries, nearly 10,000 faculty and staff, 17 schools and colleges, and 250 fields of study. Boston University is consistently ranked among the world’s best research universities and is a member of the American Association of Universities. For further information, see www.bu.edu or contact Ann Comer-Woods firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods, and data openly to the entire scientific community. Founded by MIT, Harvard, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff, and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to http://www.broadinstitute.org. In support of CARB-X, the Broad Institute created the Collaborative Hub for Early Antibiotic Discovery (CHEAD), which serves an interdisciplinary center that partners with academic investigators engaged in antibiotic development and/or resistance research to accelerate their early-stage, small molecule therapeutics toward Investigational New Drug (IND) application. For further information about CHEAD, go to https://www.broadinstitute.org/infectious-disease-and-microbiome/carb-x-collaborative-hub-early-antibiotic-discovery.
MassBio is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 that represents and provides services and support for the world’s leading life sciences supercluster.
MassBio is committed to advancing Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives.
Representing 1000+ biotechnology companies, academic institutions, disease foundations and other organizations involved in life sciences and healthcare, MassBio leverages its unparalleled network of innovative companies and industry thought leaders to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services.
About the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)
The California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI is a member of the CARB-X consortium, serving as an accelerator. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents California’s leading life sciences organizations. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more at http://califesciencesinstitute.org.
About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities, and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.
CARB-X: Jennifer Robinson
Inhibrx: Amy Conrad